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Thailand’s Maya Bay Will Reopen After 3 Years Of Closure Due To Overtourism

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After an over 3-year closure, Thailand’s notorious Maya Bay is now scheduled to reopen on January 1st, 2022.

Thailand’s Natural Resources and Environment Minister Varawut Silpa-archa announced the tentative opening date on Monday, as reported by the Bangkok Post.

View from above, stunning aerial view of Koh Phi Phi Leh (Phi Phi Islands) with the beautiful Maya Bay. A turquoise and clear water bathes a white beach surrounded by limestone mountain

The picturesque cove in Thailand’s Hat Noppharat Thara Mu Ko Phi Phi National Park, also known as “Maya Bay”, became world famous in 2000 following the release of the movie based on the book “The Beach”. The movie starred Leonardo DiCaprio, and it quickly became a must-see film for any traveler and backpacker.

View to the famous Maya Bay with tourists comming on their daily trips

Closure Of Maya Bay In 2018 Was Due To Overtourism

No, Maya Bay in southern Thailand didn’t close because of Covid.

Back in June of 2018, the decision was made by Thailand’s Department of National Parks to temporarily close Maya Bay on Phi Phi Le Island in an effort to restore the land and protect the local wildlife, including the coral reefs.

close up of a Thai long boat at sunset in Krabi

Improvements Made To The Region

Maya Bay’s reopening date was extended for over two years, but a lot of restoration has been done to the area throughout this period. New corals have been planted and the visitor facilities upgraded to help improve the travel process upon reopening. The new and improved pier for tourists to access the bay is in the final stages of construction.

At its peak tourist season, Maya Bay had over 4,000 visitors (and 200 motorboats) per day. Before the bay was temporary closed, more than half of the corals suffered “major damage.”

This picturesque spot was one of the most visited areas of Thailand for years. The region of the Southern Thai islands in general have been one of the most sought-after tourist destinations in the world over the past few decades.

Women in Phi phi thailand

Updated Travel Rules For Maya Bay

Maya Bay’s reopening will come with stricter rules than in past years. To promote a more sustainable reopening and hopefully preserve the region for the future, officials have outlined the new visitation guidelines for the area.

The new guidelines for visiting Maya Bay will include:

  • Motorboats will no longer be allowed to directly enter the bay. Instead, all boats will have to anchor in another bay on the other side of the island.
  • Only 8 speed boats will be permitted to anchor at a time
  • Tourists will be allowed to visit Maya Bay for a total of one hour
  • 300 visitors will be allowed in every hour, between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. local time every day.
Asian man smiling behind the black mask while travelling to Ayutthaya, Thailand. Wearing a protective mask

“Maya Bay has been continuously receiving interest from tourists around the world. But this has also caused (the natural area) to deteriorate, especially the corals. After shutting down Maya Bay to revive and restore it, up until the present, it has returned to a good condition,” said Varawut Silpa-Archa following the announcement of Maya Bay’s reopening.

Tuk tuk parked outside of a restaurant in Bangkok
Thailand’s gradual reopening has begun.

Thailand Gradually Reopening To International Travelers

Following Phuket’s sandbox scheme in July, the Kingdom is gradually reopening to international travelers. From November 1st, fully vaccinated travelers from 63 countries (deemed ‘low-risk’) can visit Thailand and will only have to undergo one night of self-quarantine upon arrival while they wait for the results of their Covid tests. You see read the rest of the details here.

thai long boats anchored at the shore
Thai long boats

Read More:

Travel Insurance That Covers Covid-19

Top 5 Places To Visit In Thailand’s Stunning Mainland

Malaysia Reopening Borders For International Tourism By January 1

Plan Your Trip:

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Disclaimer: Current travel rules and restrictions can change without notice. The decision to travel is ultimately your responsibility. Contact your consulate and/or local authorities to confirm your nationality’s entry and/or any changes to travel requirements before traveling.  Travel Off Path does not endorse traveling against government advisories


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